OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives has altered its Order of Business at plenary during the three legislative days of Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
This is to facilitate speedy passage of bills, check truancy and keep members sufficiently engaged with the processes of making laws.
The new order of business essentially prioritizes debate of bills and consideration of reports over Motions which in the old order took more time and added less value to the work of the parliament as resolutions that emanated therefrom were often not enforceable.
In the new dispensation which was approved by the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara shortly before the House adjourned on December 22, 2015 for the end of year break, the first order of business on Tuesdays is Second Reading of Bills, followed by Motions and then Consideration of Reports.
On Wednesdays, the first order to be taken is First Reading of Bills followed by Motions and then Consideration of Reports.
For Thursdays, the first order is Second Reading of Bills followed by Consideration of Reports before Motions listed for the day are taken.
In the previous dispensation, the order of business in plenary which was uniform for every legislative day had Motions taken before Second Reading of Bills after which Consideration of Reports followed.
The old regime tended to focus more on Motions as members were found to leave chambers in substantial numbers after the items had been concluded leaving the House scanty when the more important task of debating bills and consideration of reports were being taken. It is often an embarrassing scenario especially on Thursdays when a near empty chamber in plenary is broadcast live on national TV.
Speaker Dogara has made the passage of bills one of the cardinal benchmarks of the legislative agenda of the 8th House of Representatives and had stated the desire of the lower chamber to update all obsolete laws in the country’s statute books by the first quarter of 2016.
The House of Representatives under Dogara made history recently when it passed a record 130 bills at first reading in one fell swoop.
Second Reading of Bills entails rigorous debates on the general principles of proposed legislations where the pros and cons are highlighted and canvassed before a bill is either referred to an appropriate committee for further legislative action or is thrown out for lack of consensus on its merit.
Consideration of Bills is the last and final stage a bill passes through before it is passed in parliament. It entails a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill after it has been laid by the committee which undertook extensive legislative action on it.
Under the new dispensation, Committee meetings will now hold beginning 3pm instead of the 2pm that was the case in the previous regime
For more information on Bills, Motions, and Consideration of Reports, read and/or download ORDER PAPER for Parliamentary Proceedings (Ref: 01/14/09/2015 and BILLS (Ref. 05/12/10/2015) from this link: http://www.orderpaper.ng/mondaymeme/